These remain difficult times for all and we hope everyone is staying safe and well. We are very conscious of people’s livelihoods.
The Housing Secretary confirmed after the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday on Covid-19 that the restrictions placed on house selling and renting were not to be eased. We continue to follow Government guidelines, despite our eagerness to “get back to work” for our clients and staff.
Until further notice therefore we cannot arrange viewing (sales and lettings), but are hoping that estate agency falls into the Government’s Phase 2 and things will change from 1st June. We cannot be certain, and we will be closely monitoring the advice as it evolves.
On the positive side we experienced a very good first quarter post Brexit. All expectations were met and activity in sales and rentals rose significantly, which bodes well. There is clearly an appetite for buying and renting homes and this is confirmed by the ongoing registration of buyers and tenants contacting Butler Sherborn. We literally have lists of those who want to view as soon as they are able.
We are also building up a portfolio of new stock but anticipate we will require more to meet demand. There is clearly competition building in the mortgage market, also. Checks will be more stringent but mortgage rates remain very low. The Bank of England base rate is at an historic level of just 0.10%.
We anticipate activity will grow from July onwards and volumes of sales will provide encouragement. The key however will be in the amount of stock. Initially prices may be under pressure as buyers look or expect deals but this will change as transitions take place, which we very much expect. We are advising clients, existing and future, to be sensible but robust about guide prices. For those on the market pre- lockdown we are advising the same guides are maintained due to the significant interest from potential buyers looking to move in and to the Cotswolds. That said we are likely to recommend all sensible offers be considered until we see a sustained return in confidence. There will be a degree of fragility about. Our advice to those wanting to sell is to test the market to meet current demand.
Our professional services and property management departments continue to function as fully as possible; of course working under Government guidelines. Equally, in terms of working practice both in and out of our offices, and at viewings whenever we can restart them, we will be following the Government’s Covid-19 Secure Guidelines published yesterday.
Finally, we are continuing to work remotely at this time, but still very much working full-time. Hence should you have any queries or wish to have a discussion please do get in touch.